MISHNAH. ALL THE SUBSTITUTES FOR THE NAZIRITE VOW1 ARE EQUIVALENT TO NAZIRITE VOWS. IF A MAN SAYS, 'I SHALL BE [ONE].' HE BECOMES A NAZIRITE. [IF HE SAYS.] 'I SHALL BE COMELY, A NAZIRITE, A NAZIK,2 A NAZIAH2 A PAZIAH. HE BECOMES A NAZIRITE. [IF HE SAYS.] 'I INTEND TO BE LIKE THIS,' OR 'I INTEND TO CURL [MY HAIR].' OR 'I MEAN TO TEND [MY HAIR].' OR 'I UNDERTAKE TO DEVELOP TRESSES,' HE BECOMES A NAZIRITE. [IF HE SAYS.] 'I TAKE UPON MYSELF [AN OBLIGATION INVOLVING] BIRDS,' R. MEIR SAYS HE BECOMES A NAZIRITE, BUT THE SAGES SAY HE DOES NOT BECOME A NAZIRITE.
GEMARA. Seeing that the Tanna3 is teaching the order Nashim,4 why does he speak of the nazirite? — The Tanna had in mind the scriptural verse, Then it cometh to pass if she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some unseemly thing in her,5 and he reasons thus. What was the cause of the woman's infidelity? Wine. Further, he proceeds, whosoever sees an unfaithful wife in her degradation6 will take a nazirite's vow and abjure wine.7
[How is it that in enunciating the general rule,8 the Mishnah] mentions first 'substitutes' and then gives examples of 'allusions'?9 — Raba, others say Kadi,10 said: There is a hiatus [in the Mishnah] and it should read as follows: 'All the substitutes for the nazirite vow are equivalent to nazirite vows, and all allusions to the nazirite vow are equivalent to nazirite vows. The following are allusions. If a man says, "I shall be [one]," he becomes a nazirite [etc.].' Ought not then the substitutes to be enumerated first?11 — It is customary for the Tanna to explain first what he mentions last. Thus we learn: With what materials may [the Sabbath lamp] be kindled, and with what may it not be kindled?12 and the exposition begins: It is forbidden to kindle etc. [Again, we learn:] With what materials may [hot victuals] be covered [on the Sabbath,]13 and with what may they not be covered?14 and the exposition begins: It is forbidden to cover etc. [Again:] What may a woman 'wear when she goes out [on the Sabbath], and what may she not wear when she goes out?15 and the exposition begins: She must not go out etc.
But have we not learnt: With what trappings may an animal go out [on the Sabbath], and with what may it not go out?16 whilst the exposition begins: The camel may go out etc.; [and again:] Some both inherit and bequeath,17 and some inherit but do not bequeath. Some bequeath and do not inherit, and some neither inherit nor bequeath,18 whilst the exposition begins: The following both inherit and bequeath? The truth is that the Tanna adopts sometimes one method and sometimes the other, [according to circumstances]. In the first set of cases adduced, because the prohibition is a personal one,19 this personal prohibition is expounded first. On the other hand, in the case of the animal, since the prohibition arises primarily through the animal,20 those things which are permitted are mentioned first.
Nazir 2bWith inheritance, again. the basic type of inheritance is dealt with first. Granted all this, [in the case of the nazirite vow] why should not the substitutes be enumerated first? — There is a special reason, viz., that [the rule regarding the efficacy of] the allusions is derived [from the scriptural text] by a process of inference1 and therefore the Tanna set a special value on it. Then why does he not mention them first? — For opening the subject the Tanna prefers to mention the basic type of vow,2 but in his exposition, he illustrates the allusions first.
IF A MAN SAYS I SHALL BE [ONE].' HE BECOMES A NAZIRITE. But might he not mean, 'I shall keep a fast day'?3 — Samuel said: We must suppose that a nazirite is passing by [when he makes this declaration]. Are we to infer from this that Samuel is of the opinion that allusions, the significance of which is not manifest,4 have not the force of a direct statement?5 — Let me explain. [What Samuel means is that] if a nazirite is passing by, there is no reason to suspect a different intention,6 but without question, if no nazirite is passing by, we say that he might mean, 'I shall keep a fast day.'7 But perhaps his purpose was to free the other from his sacrifices?8 — [We presume it to be known] that he added mentally ['a nazirite']. If so, it is surely obvious [that he becomes a nazirite]? It might be thought that we require his utterance and his intention to coincide, and so we are told [that this is not so].
I SHALL BE COMELY … HE BECOMES A NAZIRITE. Perhaps he means, 'l shall be comely before Him in [the performance of] precepts. as has been taught: [The verse]. This is my God and I will glorify9 Him10 means, I will glorify Him in [the performance of] precepts; I shall build an attractive booth,11 procure a faultless palm-branch.11 wear elegant fringes, write a mangificent Scroll of the Law and provide it with wrappings of choicest silk? — Samuel said: [We assume that] he takes hold of his hair12 when he says, 'I shall be comely.'
[Seeing that to become] a nazirite is in a way a sin,13 can it be termed comely? —
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